Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just to be fair, I'm circumcised



Jackson was born healthy. Ten little fingers. Ten little toes. Two monster testicles and one perfect little schlong. Nicole and I decided to NOT go medieval on Jackson’s member, leaving it intact as nature intended. At the beginning of Nicole’s pregnancy the issue came up, and I was staunchly against playing snip-snip on my son’s new baby flesh. Nicole, at first, was in favor of circumcision. She’s a nurse, but there is no biology class in the world that could educate her on ownership of male genitalia.

As we waited for Jackson’s arrival, Nicole would drop bits of cock carving info on me from time to time. The most commonly cited medical grounds are reduced risk of urinary tract infection, reduced risk of penile cancer, and reduced risk in AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. I stood my ground. I would not be swayed by medical fear mongers. Especially since the medical reasons just don’t add up. According to the American Cancer Society only 290 men will die in 2008 from penile cancer. We might as well just scratch that one off the list. Fear of the other reasons just adds up to lazy parenting. Instead of slicing your little man’s little man, be a good parent and teach your kid crotch hygiene, and sexual safety. I really feel that parents who would sooner subject their children to an unnecessary medical procedure rather than educate their children on health issues are the same shitty parents who use the TV as a baby sitter, and candy as a pacifier.

What are some of the other reasons we humans disfigure our children? Religious and cultural...of course.

Religious. Well, I guess if you are Jewish, and dinky dissection is something you really believe your God wants, then go for it. Personally, I can’t figure out why God would want you to cut off something he just gave your son. I’m Buddhist, and my spiritual beliefs are strictly at odds with foreskin amputation of a human being unless that decision is self-made.

Cultural. “I don’t want my son’s penis to look different than mine” or “I don’t want my son to feel different in the locker room” are shit reasons. To all the dads out there: Get over yourself! Just because your parents mutilated you doesn’t mean you have to pass on the love. My father was not circumcised, and when I was born he gave in to my mother’s wishes to take off my skin hat. I didn’t look like him, and I never felt bad about that. What I did feel bad about was that my parents cared so little about the top 10% of my penis that they threw it away with my first roommate, the placenta. As far as the locker room goes, I plan on explaining this whole societal mind-fuck to my son. He’ll understand that the other boys look different because their mothers simply don’t love them. Look, it’s way more likely that kids are going to tease your child because he is fat or skinny, tall or short. Please don’t use this as an excuse to rip the cover off his little rod.

Here are some of the cons to circumcision:

Up to 20% of circumcised males will suffer from one or more of the following complications, to some degree:

* Meatal stenosis (narrowing of the urethral opening due to infection and subsequent scarring, that occurs almost exclusively in circumcised boys)
* extensive scarring of the penile shaft
* skin tags and skin bridges
* bleeding of the circumcision scar
* curvature of the penis
* tight, painful erections
* psychological and psychosexual problems

20%!!! Those are scary odds when compared with the 290 men in all of America who will get penile cancer. Rather than teaching me how to pull back my foreskin to clean a little smegma, you put me at risk for a scarred and curvy penis with painful erections. It’s no wonder this leads to mental problems.

Ultimately, little boys are human beings, not property. I say teach them the options, and let’s see how many 18 year olds choose to go under the knife. I wish I had the option.

65 comments:

grandma said...

Tommy, It seems to me that your trimmed little man has served you quite well so far. So stop whining.

Tommy Galan said...

Next time I come over for dinner I’m going to cut off 10% of your genitals, and we’ll call it even.

NGM said...

Tommy, thanks for writing this for the world to see! It's a chorus of voices from people like you that will put an end to the inhumane treatment of baby boys that still goes on in the United States under the guise of "medicine."

If we remain silent, nothing will change.

BTW, is the first post from your actual grandmother?

Tommy Galan said...

Thanks for the comment NGM. The first post is actually from my mother aka my son's grandmother aka "The Butcher".

NGM said...

There's clearly some tension over this issue. It's not unexpected for parents who circumcise to be defensive about what they did. To be fair, things are far different now than they were decades ago. At that time, circumcision was nearly universal in the United States. There was much less information available, and there was no internet where one could go to easily access it as well as hear innumerable personal experiences.

Parents decades ago can be much more easily excused than new parents of today. But I also think those who circumcised decades ago should recognize the importance of openly re-evaluating their decision in light of current knowledge, including the regrets of their male children. Not only because it's the honest thing to do, but also because it's meaningful to those who lost an important part of their body and can't ever get it back. Perhaps such parents think they are shielding themselves by not admitting to a mistake, but I think it only breeds resentment in place of what could be forgiveness.

Most importantly, I think we're winning this battle for genital integrity. Thanks for contributing.

Deanna said...

You rule Tommy!

Guggie Daly said...

Oh, Tommy, you sure did get it right! :D LOL

This is everything my husband says to me in private that I don't ever repeat. LOL LOL

Glad to hear that your son was kept intact.

Jen said...

Congratulations on your son, and thank you for spreading knowledge and a dad's perspective. Keep up the good work!

(mom of two intact boys...and wife to an unfortunately cut man...)

Team Harris said...

Like Jen above, I'm mom to two intact boys and an circumcised husband. I am a nurse and when we found out we were having a baby boy, I was ambivalent about circ'ing but deferred to my husband for the final decision. THANK GOODNESS he has a brain and chose to do some research rather than simply opting to do it because it was done to him. After one day of research he said, "There is no way in hell we are doing this to our son!" And that was that. I'm so thankful. Now I'm a very outspoken advocate for intactivism!! Thank you for your blog post. We really need more fathers sharing their perspective on this matter. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the subject!

Jenn said...

Yeah!! Good for you guys! My DH was snipped and when I was pregnant, I had him watch the Penn & Teller episode of Bullsh!t about circumcision... he went from being ambivalent to being a strong supporter of keeping our child intact! I have 2 sons and neither have had genital mutilations, thank goodness! Thanks for writing!

drgnflymom said...

OMG i love you! Straight to the point and well thought out! Thanks for sharing!!!

LeTara said...

Thank you so much for this post! my husband is intact and very willing to talk about alot of the misconceptions about it.. he says that guys dont look at each other's junk.. and if they do then you dont shower next to them... it just wasn't done and was never ever and issue for him in the locker room...he feels for all the men who cannot have all the sensations that your foreskin can offer... If this baby is a boy he will stay as God made him .. perfect and intact :)

Krista said...

What a great post. I have two intact boys and a circ DH. I had to work hard to convince him that circ is wrong, and now he's as big an intactivist as I am. WTG Tommy, you rock!

Annalise said...

Women get a LOT of UTI's... I doubt any of us would get elective surgery to "remedy" it though. Just a thought.

Shauna said...

What a great post. Add me to the list of people with intact sons whose fathers are snipped. Never been a problem.

The Family Q said...

A truly honest and factual post! thanks for speaking up baby boys everywhere from a VERY important perspective..a cut man! I have two daughters and we welcomed our first son 9 months ago..my DH is NOT cut (thank goodness) and we planned to keep our son intact anyways. i was educated early on about male mutilation and would never cut a baby!! However at 2 weeks old he became sick with a UTI and hospitalized at children's. MANY MANY doc's adn nurses tried to get us to cut our sweet son and we refused..b/c the point is if he was a daughter they would not have offered such uneccesary amputation. Anti biotics work..hygiene works..what other body part do we just CUT OFF intead of wash?
circumcision is insanity...

Danielle Arnold-McKenny said...

brilliant post!! I've linked to it on my blog!
http://iinformedparenting.blogspot.com/2010/07/daddy-experience.html

Anonymous said...

I circ'd my two sons, and I now regret it daily. While they've so far not suffered any adverse effects, I now see that there was no good medical reason for it. Our next son (whenever he decides to come to us) we will leave intact. I'm not worried about him wondering why his father and two brothers look different. I'm more worried about my two older sons finding it in their hearts to forgive their for not being informed enough to protect them.

Melissa Evans said...

Thank you for this! I'm a childbirth educator and show a circ in class - it makes a world of difference for many parents-to-be. In class I have to be a bit "filtered" - it was so nice reading what I'd love to be able to say in class!
~Melissa Evans
www.BellyBeginnings.com
Another mom to 2 intact boys married to my cut love.

Raelynn said...

Fantastic blog post! We need more outspoken male intactivists.

You keep speaking of 10% of your manhood being removed. It's actually up to 50% of the skin (unfolded on a grown man measures the size of a 3x5" index card!), and 80% of the nerve endings. The foreskin has 20,000 nerve endings (compared to 4,000 nerve endings in the glans).

Elle said...

Thanks for the great post. My DH is intact and had never had any issues, medical or otherwise. Same with his brothers who are intact as well. Our son is intact and I am a nurse. We made the decision to leave him intact while I was still in nursing school. Since then I have seen many circumcisions performed and I am so, SO glad I did not do that to my child. It's absolutely barbaric and it's done to newborns every single day.

My parents had my brother circumcised and when my brother spoke to my mother about it she got very defensive. It's a very hard mindset to change, especially when they have to come to terms with the fact that they made a decision years ago that (surprise!) isn't appreciated today.

Jill said...

HIGH FIVE Tommy!!! You and my hubby would get along great. His stance on circumcision is: "Don't cut up your kid's dick. How hard is that??" Gotta love him! :)

Scarlettfox said...

ROFL! The first two comments are great- and such a great comeback! And OMG yeah- those are some big baby er... jewels! Good grief, how's he gonna walk when it's time? I wonder if our son (due in nov) will be the same! LOL! We are keeping him INTACT due to my research- Dad, who's cut- wanted it "done" but didn't even look into it! I couldn't believe it! After a couple conversations with him, he's agreed with me (though silently) that our boy will be as IS!

Amanda said...

I was enjoying your tongue in cheek blog entry until: "As far as the locker room goes, I plan on explaining this whole societal mind-f**k to my son. He’ll understand that the other boys look different because their mothers simply don’t love them."
Look, I made a mistake. I allowed my son to be circumcised. Afterward, I was educated about the process and have since changed my opinion. I have donated money to Intact America so that more people can be educated. I talk to my friends that are expecting a child and offer them literature so that they can make an informed choice (well...NOT make a choice rather...since it's not their choice to make really).
But, to think that you are going to be raising your son to believe that I don't love my son because he is missing his foreskin? What? The guilt I carry about allowing the procedure to take place isn't enough?
I just think that the entry was funny as it was. That comment, to me, was not funny or cute. It was downright mean.
My son is 13. I have already sat him down and apologized. He might not understand what that apology is all about, but one day he will. If he wants to be angry with me, all I can hope is that he can forgive me for my mistake. But...that was just mean. How can you even joke that I wouldn't love my son???

Tommy Galan said...

Wow, Thank you all so much for the support. I had stopped writing this blog a while ago because of some other projects, and I just didn't have many readers. However, your excitement over my writing and son's penis has inspired me anew. I will post again tomorrow, and I encourage you to read and share. Much love you all of you and thanks again!

Kristin said...

Just dropping by, but had to say that I LOVE this post. Awesome writing and couldn't agree more...even though I have two girls, I converted Daddy to MY way of thinking on the subject long before we knew their genders. You have a beautiful (and lucky) baby boy!

I-dra & Puella said...

(This blog post is making the rounds on Facebook, just so you can account for the sudden, massive influx of comments!)

This is my new FAVORITE anti-circ piece. I've read a lot of anti-circ pieces written by mothers, but this man, a circumcised comedian, puts it better than any of the others. You brought up an interesting fact, which I'll quote & respond to: "According to the American Cancer Society only 290 men will die in 2008 from penile cancer." With that in mind, consider that, since these are grown men we are talking about, the majority of them were likely circumcised, throwing that whole "lower risk of penile cancer" theory right out on it's ass. Also, the "study" (I use the term loosely) done in Africa with the agenda of "proving" the benefits of circ is ridiculously flawed. They grouped the grown men into two categories: Circ'ed & Intact. They encouraged the men who were to be circumcised to abstain from sex for at least 6 weeks post-op, then taught them about condoms. 2 advantages that group had over the intact group, which received no such education.

I'm proud to come from a very progressive matriarchal family. My grandmother breastfed all 3 of her kids born in the 50s for 5-6 months each. My aunt birthed at home & breastfed her eldest daughter for 5 years. My grandfather is intact, so is my uncle, my little brother, my male cousin & now, my son, who I continue to breastfeed at nearly 4 years old.

I will post this piece everywhere it is relevant.

Matthew Tremain said...

I am pritty sure that it is western circumcision that takes the forskin off, but true Jewish circumcision cuts a layer of skin then pulls it out to extend the forskin.

Stephanie Guillory said...

To be honest, before I had my daughter (who yeah, is a girl therefore I didn't have to make the choice) I thought about circumcised for those reasons... well not the health reasons but because of the "looking different" and the fact that my husband is circumcised and he wanted it. Thankfully we had a girl and therefore didn't make a big mistake (though I did have serious doubts about it and I'm not really sure if I would have gone through with it. My husband hates his penis because of the circumcision scar, why would he want his son's to end up the same way?).

Annnnyway, forgive my wordiness. I am really commenting to say one thing. It BLOWS my mind, that when you suggest to most older men to get a vasectomy in order to help control having unplanned pregnancies and to have "saver" more worry free sex they BULK and usually bulk hard. Often with comments of "you're not getting any knife near my member!" and "I'll be less manly if you cut me there!"... yet they won't hesitate to put their new born son under the knife for a cosmetic surgery... It baffles me, especially since there ARE decent reasons for vasectomies and as you've clearly stated, not very good ones for circumcision...

One of life's many mysteries I suppose.

Melissa said...

Great post. I wish more men would reason this out like you did rather than cling to the irrational "it was done to me so it MUST be done to my son."

I think you might enjoy some of Adrian Colesberry's writings on the subject http://www.adriancolesberry.com/life/?cat=22

Latinalonestar said...

Bravo Daddy! Very wise decision to leave your beautiful boy intact and, in doing so, giving him the choice over the function and appearance of his most private area. Female circumcision is supported for the very same myths that Americans use to support male circumcision. In fact the vast majority of female circumcisions remove far LESS tissue than does male circumcision. Sad.

Joseph said...

Actually, if you want to learn more about Jewish circumcision, I really recommend you read a book called "Marked in Your Flesh" by Leonard Glick.

He's Jewish and he tells all.

The older way to do it was in three traditional steps.

1. They cut off the tip of the foreskin with a knife. (M'lah)

2. They took their sharpened fingernails and ripped off any trace of skin. (Peri 'ah) If Leonard Glick is correct, this part of the process was added in the 6th century, because Jews that lived among the Greeks would restore their foreskins with thread to look like their Greek counterparts. In olden Greece, it was considered bad form to have an exposed head. So the Rabbis of the time thought that by doing this they'd make it difficult for Jews to restore and hide their identities. (It's funny, cuz this is what made it easy for Hitler to hunt Jews down...)

3. Finally, the mohel sucks off the blood from the bleeding penis with his mouth. (Metzitzah b'peh) This last one got a rabbi in New York in trouble a few years back, because he gave the children hepatitis, a few of them died. The court decreed that he could continue to suck off babies' penises as long as he used Listerine beforehand. Were these GIRLS in African or Islamic tradition? We know what would happen.

Not all Jewish sects follow all of these anymore. Some Jewish sects do that last part with a plastic tube to avoid having to come into direct contact with the child. Some rabbis, like the one in New York, still does it his way.

Still others use different utensils. Some rabbis use clamps, others use a device called a mogen, and others just free-hand it.

I think what kind of penis a Jewish guy ends up with will depend on the rabbi of the week.

Then there's medical doctors, and it will all depend who does it too. There are a number of devices that doctors use, including the gomco clamp, the mogen, the free-hand method, plastibell... there is an industry for infant torture, believe it or not.

I hope you learned something new today!

PS - Mogen just recently went out of business, because a judge ruled that the mogen just wasn't as "risk-free" as Mogen advertized; the judge awarded the parents 11 million. The circumcision was performed by a Jewish mohel, who managed to sever off the head of the child's penis. Check it out:

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/atlanta-lawyer-wins-11-573890.html

There are some self-righteous people who will tell you "mohels always do the best job because that's what they do for a living." Now you can staple this story to their heads.

And uh, doctors that circumcise also do that for a living too. They also screw up. Got a long list of links to those stories as well.

Parents please, PLEASE!

Children are born absolutely healthy. There is no need to do this to your healthy child. The risk above is rare, but real. Ask yourselves, is it really worth it? How would you live with yourselves if this happened to you, KNOWING that this is pure cosmetic surgery?

THANK you Tommy... THANK you for taking the time to consider this. THANK you for having the guts to stand up and saying this out loud. Maybe your son will love you. Maybe he will hate you. But if he hates it he can always get cut if he wants. Circumcised men that didn't want this have to live with something they didn't choose for the rest of their lives.

You're awesome, man.

Peace.

Joseph said...

Amanda, I don't think Tommy meant for you to take that personally.

I think that nothing shows you love your son more than to admit you made a mistake, and to be willing to ask forgiveness.

Some men grow up, resent their circumcisions, and when they tell their parents, the are told "we are your parents, and we did the best as far as we know." By the book. On automatic. Were those men ever seen as anything more than accessories? Like a dog that has his tail cut off for looks?

I think Tommy said what he did to joke around, but only half-jokingly. Some parents truly never had a connection with their children, and expect never to hear their children complain about the fact that their bodies were violated as children.

Obviously you do not, and there's no reason for you to take it that way. But maybe there's parents that need to hear Tommy tell it the way he does. Maybe some parents need to feel guilty. Maybe it irks some parents. It should.

Glad to hear that you are going to have an open mind with your son. When and if he tells you that he's mad he was circumcised, tell him you're sorry and that you'd take it all back if you could.

I've spoken with quite a few men who resent their parents for not being able to draw out these very words. Some guys, that their parents regret it, that's all they really want to hear; it's all they really need to help them heal. You're on the right track. Good luck...

Anonymous said...

Tommy

I echo your sentiments. As a circumsized man I also chose not to mutilate my three sons.

Chris

bushidoka said...

Very well said.

A friend of mine was circumcised as an adult due to a very rare condition (foreskin too tight), and since then has been on a crusade to ensure that all new parents know not to do this to their newborns. He said that after being circumcised he lost about 75% of the pleasure of sex.

Mama&Ellie said...

You have lots and lots of comments on this post, but I still want to add my two cents. :)

I wish my husband felt as strongly about circumcision as you do! He was circ'd and I feel pretty negatively towards his parents for doing that to him, but he doesn't really care. I have feelings of loss over it - I feel our sexual relationship has suffered because of it, but I guess I'll never truly know.

On the upside, he agrees that we shouldn't circ any boys we may have and that it is their decision.
I can only hope that my daughter will be able to fall in love with a man, someday in the future, whose parents were informed enough to leave his genitals alone and intact!

Marina said...

*Applause* I enjoyed reading this. Nicely written!

Anna Banana said...

Thank you for writing this humourous and no nonsense post... I loved it! Way to go, protecting your son.

just said...

Well done, good sir. Thank you so much for taking on this often sensitive topic with humor and a no bullshit approach. I'm a mama of two teenaged, uncircumcised boys who have never had even the least of any concern with their willies, but have been lover to numerous men who wishe so much they were still intact, so I support the cause wholeheartedly. You are an asset to the world of fathers and bloggers. Thanks.

startinagin said...

I want to post some food for thought.
My ex-husband was an intact man. That was the choice that his "biological parents" decided. His adoptive parents on the other hand did not make the original choice, but left "James" intact. They just didn't address the situation to medical professionals or friends because it was an embarrassing subject for them to handle. In their generation you didn't talk about things like that. That may be a reason parents can't talk about or apologize for the circ that has no doubt has scarred you for life.

With that said, my ex-husband grew-up not knowing to retract his foreskin. When he got older, he had no sex, due to life stresses, for about 4 years before we met.

When we got together, he could get an erection but not retract the foreskin and therefore, had almost no sensation with sex.

Please, I implore all those out there that can blog about it, talk about it here, and be an "advocate", PLEASE be just as big an advocate to the parents that they DO have to be able to talk to their son about retracting the foreskin, and NOT just when they are young! My ex-husband never knew he had to retract the foreskin until he was in nursing school when he was 40 years old.

Just the thoughts of a woman who has been on both sides of this bad situation, and for me the circ has worked-out better. But have always wondered "what if?".

Katie said...

Straightforward and humorous blog post about a serious subject. I couldn't agree more.

Heather J to the ames said...

Children do not have to retract their foreskin. My husband's didn't fully retract until he was in his teens. My son is 6 years old and it doesn't retract at all yet. No big deal. It will happen when it's supposed to.

And thanks for posting this blog. A lot of people really appreciate it.

Alexandro Jose said...

I am a men's studies and Latino Studies scholar--answer me this...why do comedians speak more freely about these issues than academics or researchers??? Not even eloquent male writers/journalists have cojones to speak as honestly and with soooooooo much humor.
Thank you!

cosmopolite said...

The blog post that started this thread was an excellent one, and unusual in that it was written by a father.

American routine circ without anesthesia should be criminalised forthwith. It is sexual violence inflicted on a helpless infant.

Winding down American routine circ will require that tens of millions of American boys over a period of about 30 years be intact sons of cut fathers. The comments to this post reveal that this process is well under way. Where I live in New Zealand, being an intact son of a circed father has been the urban norm for a generation. Nobody comments on the fact, and life goes on. Everybody here accepts that medical and sexual knowledge evolves over time.

What I write below should become part of the protocol of adolescent medicine. Once puberty is complete, a doctor or nurse should ask a teenage boy to retract gently. If he is unable to do so, he should be referred to a urologist. In most cases, all that is required is a course of steroid ointment, applied after the morning shower, and at bedtime. After 1-2 months of this, the teenage boy should very gently try to retract daily. In most cases, full retraction will be possible after a few months. Most cases of phimosis that do not resolve after the above treatment, can be cured using surgery far less radical than full circumcision.

"Just to be fair," I am intact. The bits sacrificed to circ stand at the centre stage of my experience of sex and pleasure. They facilitate masturbation and HJ. They make possible all sorts of delicate foreplay involving her fingers on me. They capture precum and spread it around in an effective way. They make penetration and vaginal intercourse gentler and more pleasant for both. The greater sensitivity allows a slower and gentler style of intercourse. The moving foreskin cushions the thrusting. Intact men do not engage in that form of dat rape known as "frat boy sex." Intact men are less likely to experience the gradual death of sexual pleasure in middle age. Finally, some American women who have been with both kinds of men, post eloquently that intact is more pleasant.

Coelecanth said...

Genital mutilation is mutilation regardless of how culturally prevalent it is. For an adult in their right mind I say, go ahead it's your body. For an infant I say it's abuse.

The only point in the post that I disagree with is: "He’ll understand that the other boys look different because their mothers simply don’t love them." Sorry, but that's a false argument. Just because someone makes a bad decision for bad reasons does not indicate a lack of love. You could only make that case if the majority of the parent's decisions were neglectful or harmful. To use that as an explanation to your son instead of fully going over the reasons for your decision would be lazy parenting.

Judith said...

I had to post to say that I was LMAO the whole time I read your post. I love the humor you convey about this serious topic! LOVE IT!!! My son is intact, thank goodness! I guess I just love my son! *snicker* Still laughing!!! :)

Judith

Joseph said...

cosmopolite:

On the one hand, some parents are ignorant, and once they learn more about the foreskin, they come to regret the choices they've made. These are true parents. They actually care that they hurt their sons.

On the other, some parents will just never see the light. Not when they read, not when they're told by friends or family, not when their very own son is standing in front of them questioning them.

Tommy was only joking, but I could tell there was some truth in there. I'll dare say that those parents who don't listen and refuse to really DON'T love their children. For who blatantly ignores important information about their children that's put right in front of them? I'll dare say that these parents are on auto-pilot, and Tommy's comment is right on the money. I think SOMETHING needs to be said to shake such parents up...

Joseph said...

My apologies, my last comment was meant for Coelecanth, not cosmopolite.

startinagin and cosmopolite bring
up an important point:

WHY do the myths and tales continue regarding the foreskin?

Because for a hundred years, the only thing taught about the foreskin in this country is HOW TO CUT IT OFF. American medical curriculum regarding the prepuce is in the middle ages. It is taught that the foreskin is this tumor, this birth defect, this genetic anomaly that all boys are born with, and that must be removed when they're born. Indeed, the foreskin and the healing of the mutilated penis is often compared to how the umbilical cord falls off. Except, the FORESKIN DOESN'T JUST FALL OFF. It has to be forcefully ripped or scraped off before it is crushed in a clamp to have it sliced off.

And that's another thing they teach about circumcision; it's this "little snip." One that takes about 15 to 20 minutes THAT's for sure.

Americans are taught that if a child is not circumcised, that his foreskin should be able to retract from birth. If it is not, then there is a problem. This "problem" exists in 100% of boys. Is it any wonder that you often hear about that one boy who "had" to be circumccised at 5 or 6? It's practically an urban legend!

And you'll hear it too!! I think we've all heard that story. "Oh you should have it done, Molly, Sandy's kid had to have it done at 7 so you should do it now." GEEZ!!! And the myth continues.

SOMETHING needs to be done. It is a disgrace that America is supposed to be a world leader, yet healthcare and medical curriculum is 100 years behind schedule. This is what passes for medicine!

Open up any American textbook on human sexuality or human anatomy, you're bound to see a circumcised penis, no scar, all trim and neat, no cracks on the glans, or skin tags, or curvature or anything, as if that's how the penis occures naturally. Some books are beginning to come around, but even the ones where some sort of semblance of the foreskin is drawn in, it isn't even mentioned. I have read a human sexuality book explain the foreskin as "the extra flap of skin that is cut off during circumcision." Yeah. Ever heard of the labia be described as "the flaps of skin on the vulva cut off during an imfibulation?" You'll never hear the breasts described as "the organs that are cut off a woman's chest during a mastectomy due to breast cancer."

American medical curriculum needs an overhaul, and bad. It's a shame that her most defenseless citizens must suffer due to ignorance.

I have anatomically correct genitalia, and for me, retraction happened at about 8 or 9 years of age. I remember the day well. The first time I saw the head of my penis was exciting! It wasn't marred by stitches and black crusty blood. That would have been a nightmare.

Children's foreskins retract at varying ages. When and if there are problems with phimosis, and this is quite rare if American doctors knew anything, something like 4 to 8%, circumcision is not always necessary. Parents, watch out for the phony phimosis diagnosis! Don't let your doctor make a quick buck at your child's expense!

To those interested, there is a Facebook page dedicated to bringing America's foreskin curriculum up to date. Please visit and contribute if possible.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/ForeskinCurriculum?ref=ts

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Tommy - thank you for sharing this. I LOVED it. This is now one of my favorite pieces about infant circumcision.

Anonymous said...

My first son is circumcised and in the 20% due to reattachment. I really wish I knew better, but we are very ignorant in this country. My youngest son was thankful spared. Being a parent who made this mistake I can honestly say it is gut wrenching to really and truly admit to yourself what you allowed a doctor to do to your child for no good reason. But by denying it, you aren't doing yourself or your child any favors. Making mistakes is human, even big ones. But admitting hem and learning from them makes you a better person. Love this blog...
Ps. I think the mom doesn't love you comment was more of a tongue to cheek type comment. Like he is going to "tell" is son this ridiculous comment just like those that circ tell people it is cleaner and better.

Intact Georgia said...

Where are the doctors in this discussion? Why aren't the doctors advising parents of the harms of circumcision, the function of foreskin? Its not a lack of love, its a lot of doctor quackery. WebMD pushes circumcision, the CDC pushes circumcision, the WHO pushes circumcision, the AAP obfuscates with wording such as "potential benefits"

But times are changing. A big ehug to the moms who didn't find out in time <<<>>>. Of course you love your boys. Your doctors failed you. You could sue, you know...

Tommy Galan said...

First, let me say thank you again to everyone who is reading my blog, and an even bigger thanks to everyone who is commenting and discussing.

I feel like I have to clarify one point. I am a comedian in NYC, and much of my writing pushes boundaries. This will sometimes offend people, and I accept that I can't make everyone laugh all the time. For that reason, I almost never explain my humor, defend it, or apologize for it.

Nevertheless, this blog is also being read as a "Daddy Blog" and I want to be clear to all of my readers. I certainly don't think my Mommy, or any other misinformed Mommy out there does not love their child if they were misinformed. In fact, I think it is ridiculous for anyone to blame their parents as a crutch to taking responsibility and moving forward in life. We all should just do the best with what we have, and recognize that we are all just big kids who continue to make mistakes until we die.

I had dinner with my Mommy (who my son calls "Grandma Grandma") last night, and she is without a doubt the most important woman in my life, next to my beautiful wife. I love her more than I could ever describe in a blog comment, and I know she loves and cares for me completely.

Mommy's are a gift, and you all deserve a great big "Thank You" for doing your best with what you have to work with. God knows children are no walk in the park!

Slee said...

re: the balls of bigness, was it hydrocele? and if so, did it resolve itself or did it require surgery?
i ask because our story is somewhat similar only the bigness hasn't gone away.

as for everything else- spot on.

Kelly Hogaboom said...

This was a fun and honest read and I'm still laughing you called your mom "The Butcher". I also could sense the mix of total-seriousness AND comedy even before I read down to your "clarification". Some people would benefit by being less defensive and using their Jump to Conclusions Mat a bit less.

We have a boychild and a girlchild and they're both intact. When we were pregnant with each people would ask either if we were going to find out the sex (my husband would quip "No, we're never going to look. EVER.") or if we would circumcise. My husband would say, "Only if it's a girl," which horrified many. But apparently about 50% of American parents aren't horrified when it's a boychild.

Thanks for writing, I'm definitely sharing this around!

Anonymous said...

i think intact ones are gross and id never do it with someone who had was not manicured

drbill said...

RIGHT ON! Moses said to God... Let me get this straight, the Arabs get all the oil and we have to cut off -- what!

In this day and age, there is no reason to circumcise. PERIOD. Tommy is spot on here. READ HYGIENE. don't be lazy.

Hey Tommy: i thought you were an attorney.. not a comedian... but maybe they are same.

Dr Bill

walterramjet said...

I too, am circumcised. That anyone can decide for another, whether or not they should get an elective surgery, is an OUTRAGE! 53 years later and I'm still PISSED off that I wasn't given that choice. There ought to be a law that prevents parents from making this choice unless the child's condition is life threatening.

Anonymous said...

It's good to hear that other people share my point of view on this issue, and this point of view is becoming more and more common. I am expecting a boy in November and I have no intention of snipping his man-bits.

I mean, coming into to the world is a pretty intense experience...without having a chunk of your dong cut off in the process!

My husband, born in eastern Asia, is uncut and was relieved when he found out that I shared his opinion in this matter.

My father though, takes the other point of view, talks about locker room teasing and psychological problems due to being uncut, and he is cut - so how would he know anyway? He feels so strongly about it he's threatened to have him circumcised behind my back. Which is such a terrible thought, that though he is fantastic with kids, he will never be alone with my son.

Anonymous said...

Very very rarely there is a medical reason - my friend's son was not circumcised, and refused to go to the bathroom - continually wetting himself until he was about 6. He would cry when pressured into using the toilet. Finally one day he explained that it hurt to wiz, and was taken to a doctor, where they found that his foreskin was too tight. After he was circumcised his life improved in that area.

Still, it was a medical decision made from a educated place, not a whim or a "we may as well!" as it so often is.

My son shall retain his foreskin unless he decides otherwise. Which I doubt will happen.

Cyn said...

I know I'm late reading this, but I just wanted to say that I *love* this entry - thanks for posting it!

Jen said...

Just saw this linked on someone's FB page, and I LOVE it! Thank you! I think routine circumcision is appalling.

Zaira said...

And roughly 1700 men will get breast cancer in a year, so should we start removing other pieces at birth now too?

Great post! Routine infant circumcision really just disgusts me. No other way to put it.

Anonymous said...

You really need to read this:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004162318.htm

Tommy Galan said...

Cutting our legs off would also prevent sprained ankles, but I'm still going to fight against cutting anything off a baby.

Tommy Galan said...

If anyone still reads this, Thanks for Making it Go Viral!
AND, please visit our new Podcast and Blog, The Lost Parents
www.TheLostParents.com